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'He's enjoyed the people, the scenery' - Barack Obama let composed guard down at times during NZ visit, especially on the golf course

Barack Obama's close companion on his whirlwind tour of New Zealand, former US Ambassador Mark Gilbert, says the President enjoyed letting his composed guard down on the golf course with John Key.

Mr Gilbert was the US ambassador to New Zealand from 2015 to 2017 and helped oversee Mr Obama's three day trip to New Zealand, ending today when he flies to Australia.

Mr Obama met with a group of influential Maori women leaders. Source: 1 NEWS

Having known Mr Obama since 2006, Mr Gilbert says the considered manner the former US President maintains does loosen a bit on the golf course, of which he spent much of his time in New Zealand on.

"He's very competitive and that came out," Mr Gilbert said.

"We played a match on Wednesday, and it was the US versus the Kiwis and believe it or not it ended in a tie. We lost in the second hole of a playoff and it was very competitive."

Mr Gilbert was also in attendance at last nights exclusive 1000 guest dinner with President Obama at Auckland's Viaduct Events Centre.

"The people in the room were very excited to hear from the president. I thought Sam Neill's moderation of the talk was really great and all in all a great night for everyone," Mr Gilbert said.

"Everywhere he's (Obama) gone he's talked about this being sort of a scouting trip for the first lady. He's enjoyed the people, the scenery, the food has been great and he's really got to see quite a bit of New Zealand."

Mr Obama will fly out of New Zealand today for Australia. 

Mark Gilbert said the former US President has been struck by the natural beauty of NZ on his visit ending today. Source: Breakfast